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Top climbers aren't as skinny as they used to be, Why?
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By camhead
From Vandalia, Appalachia
May 10, 2013
You stay away from mah pig!
Charles Kinbote wrote:
I'll defer the Samet and Moffatt's experience on climbers BITD vs now. But, some of today's top climbers are still seriously freakin' skinny. It's also kinda funny that Sharma is everyone's go to "big" climber...dude is, what, 160-165 lbs and 6 ft. tall? If he was a fighter he'd cut to lightweight (155). That's not big.


He's big compared to most elite climbers today, and would be even bigger compared to elite climbers of 20 years ago.

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By EQueezy
May 10, 2013
two words: Double. Down.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_D...

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By JohnWesely
From Red River Gorge
May 10, 2013
Gunking
Ryan Williams wrote:
I look a lot like the guys in that photo, an I eat 4000 calories a day.


Do you actually count?

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By chuffnugget
From Bolder, CO
May 10, 2013
climbers are also shrinking:

Average height is 5 foot 6 for the top ten climbers in the world
Average weight is 124 pounds for the top ten climbers in the world

so, the ideal build of gymnastics and climbing are the same.

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By bruno-cx
May 10, 2013
shirtless wonder
"The neon tights fad died. "

Really still wearing mine, kind of wish La Sportiva would start making kendos again so I could complete my retro look.

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By reboot
From Westminster, CO
May 10, 2013
Charles Kinbote wrote:
If he was a fighter he'd cut to lightweight (155). That's not big.

Since when does UFC weight classes count? 155 is just a hair over light middleweight in boxing.

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By slim
Administrator
May 10, 2013
tomato, tomotto, kill mike amato.
i wonder what 155 is in sumo wrestling?

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By pfwein
May 10, 2013
John Peters wrote:
Like others in the thread, I would dispute the premise:


Me too. I wasn't a high level climber then or now, but as someone who has at least sorta followed the exploits of our intrepid rock masters for 20 years and read about (and seen pictures) of earlier ones, here's my take:
I'd guess average weight of top level climbers is, if anything, lower than in the past. We can pick out isolated examples of top-level climbers who are extra-skinny from any era (Moffat's a good example); average weights of top-level climbers are way below average for every era and obviously always will be.

But there used to be some genuinely big guys (not just big-by-climber standards) who at least flirted with the top levels (John Long, John Dunne) and successful guys with weight-lifter type builds; you don't see guys like that anymore as elite climbers.

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By The Stoned Master
Administrator
From Pennsylvania
May 10, 2013
Day Lily.
" But there used to be some genuinely big guys (not just big-by-climber standards) who at least flirted with the top levels (John Long, John Dunne) and successful guys with weight-lifter type builds; you don't see guys like that anymore as elite climbers."

I don't even see the "Bob Scarpellis" at my local crags. Everyone even here in PA seems (of course I'm sure not ALL...) to be on the small side for sure. Interesting....

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By Charles Kinbote
From Brooklyn, NY
May 10, 2013
On Waimea, 5.10d
reboot wrote:
Since when does UFC weight classes count? 155 is just a hair over light middleweight in boxing.


They've been official since a couple hours ago, when I realized they illustrated my point better ;)

Anyway, the point is that a 6 ft tall, 160 pound man is not a big guy outside of the climbing world...yet he's the go-to "big" guy in every discussion about pro climbers and weight. It gives one a sense of how skewed the scale is within the sport.



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By reboot
From Westminster, CO
May 10, 2013
Charles Kinbote wrote:
Anyway, the point is that a 6 ft tall, 160 pound man is not a big guy outside of the climbing world...yet he's the go-to "big" guy in every discussion about pro climbers and weight. It gives one a sense of how skewed the scale is within the sport.

I don't think Sharma is a particularly big guy for his height, but using his 160 lbs weight is a bit misleading. The guy has the average muscle mass of somebody ~180 lbs (tag on extra 10-15% body fat to his frame), which would put such person's BMI at 25, borderline between normal and overweight. But like others say, Sharma's kind of an exception. Still, if you look at the top competition boulders, they do tend to be quite muscular (won't even talk about Alex Puccio; she's the female exception).

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By freezeus
From Pittsfield, VT
May 10, 2013
Sharma is nowhere near 6' maybe 5'6"-5'8" and I doubt he's 165. I'm 6' even and have chatted with Chris at a few events he was definitely at least 4-6" shorter than me. I think the differece boils down to bouldering, gym training, and many of the new harder sport routes being about power and crazy dynamic movement.

Dean Potter is big, John Glassberg is huge...

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By Christiney
From Wheat Ridge, CO
May 11, 2013
Horseman
JCM wrote:
What makes this image look really silly is that they had Ondra and Ramonet stand next to each other; Ramonet looks so short (because he is)...

Yeah, I hate standing next to my tall girl friends!! We both end up looking like freaks.

Brendan Blanchard wrote:
Here's another oddity: most of the hardest women climbers right now are quite short. I was blown away when I found out that Sasha Dijulian was 5' 2". Beth Rodden is 5' 1", and obviously Ashima is, well, short...


LOL yah Ashima is short, while she is probably still growing I doubt too much because her mom is pretty short. Regardless, she is super short and sending grades I can't even fathom. She went to the Red River Gorge this past October 2012, and sent 2 5.14s -


but... check out this pic. I met her and her parents while she was on the trip in the video above,... I cut most of me out because I'm trying to remain anonymous, but even with the owl hat you can see I am actually taller than Ashima, and I am 4'10"(147 cm), so you can see Ashima is less than 4'10". Before Ashima I was thinking as a female climber it's best to be 5'1" and was always wishing for those extra 3". As for the weight aspect, Ashima appears to weigh 40lbs less than me, much skinnier, and has longer arms.

I don't think it is all about weight though, or muscle, but also how your body harnesses the power from your muscle. These things are not measurable such as efficiency of the circulatory system (flowing lactic acid away), respitory system, and neural pathways (more electrical impulses from the brain to contract the muscle fibers). At the extreme a paralyzed person has muscle but can't use it.

I still think height matters to some degree, if you hear the guy in the video say, "if Ashima can reach it, she has endless endurance" or something to that effect, because some are just not possible (esp at the gym, when they are created for a person about 5'6"-5'10"). I think different routes are graded at the same grade but for different reasons.

I'm standing left to Ashima, I'm 4'10" for comparison.
I'm standing left to Ashima, I'm 4'10" for comparison.

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By camhead
From Vandalia, Appalachia
May 11, 2013
You stay away from mah pig!
freezeus wrote:
Sharma is nowhere near 6' maybe 5'6"-5'8" and I doubt he's 165.


Uhhhhh... no.

There is endless debate about Sharma's measurements (the only other climber who has gotten so misrepresented on climbing forums is Fred Rhouling), but he is NOT 5'6". Not a lot of definitive info since he does not maintain an 8a.spu profile, and there is endless speculation such as yours going around on climbing forums. However, Sharma's wikipedia puts him at an even 6 feet, as does this article at UK climbing.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Sh...

ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?i...

So, yeah, not 5'6" or even 5'8".

Dave Graham lists his own height at 5'10" (which is taller than I would have put him at), and here they are together:


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By doligo
May 11, 2013
Jose Cuervo Fruitcups dirtbag style
freezeus wrote:
Sharma is nowhere near 6' maybe 5'6"-5'8" and I doubt he's 165. I'm 6' even and have chatted with Chris at a few events he was definitely at least 4-6" shorter than me. I think the differece boils down to bouldering, gym training, and many of the new harder sport routes being about power and crazy dynamic movement. Dean Potter is big, John Glassberg is huge...


Maybe it's a perception, someone mentioned above that Digiulian was 5'2" - I was standing next to her at the World Cup event couple of years ago and I could've sworn she wasn't even 5' tall (I'm 5'4 and she looked super tiny).

To the OP, I don't think your observation specific only to the sport of climbing. Take tennis for example, Rafael Nadal looks like he spends as much time in the weight room as on the court... I also think our perceptions of beauty have changed. Muscles are sexy, so the media and ads would actually accentuate them instead of airbrushing them over. It is especially true for women athletes. Think Mia Hamm, Misty May, Alex Puccio... Cool name aside, Misty May used to get more media play than her lankier teammate Kerri Walsh for some reason.

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By Christiney
From Wheat Ridge, CO
May 11, 2013
Horseman
Wow maybe Sharma is elastic, people have pics of him being a few inches taller than a person who is 5'10" yet several inches shorter than freezeus, who is 6'. Being elastic would help w/ climbing for sure.

doligo, it might be perception. I think super-skinny people look short becuase they are "less there." Another explanation is common sense says slender people look taller b/c of proportions, which might be true, but maybe for the really skinny our mind overcompensates for that. I've been around really slight people who I believe I tower over, but then when we go stand in front of the mirror together I see they are acutally taller than me.

With that explanation, maybe if Freezeus had a picture of him with Sharma, he would discover that Sharma is actually his height. At least some of the people who are listing Sharma's height are guesstimating, and I bet they guesstimate short.

It would make sense, because camhead perceives Dave Graham at less than 5'10" but Dave Graham probably knows his own height. And all these people are pretty skinny. Also deals w/ proportion, people with larger heads look shorter.

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By Casey Ryback
May 11, 2013
Chief Petty Officer and former Navy Seal turned chef
I think the photo with the world cup climbers is a little misleading. They all look pretty skinny there. Ondra, Amma, and Paul Robinson do seem genuinely like stick figures. But check out a few photos of the others. For the sizes of their frames they are carrying a fair amount of muscle. Magnus is pretty far from a string bean. I think the original post is correct. Elite climbers are more yoked, and less focused on starvation. Of course, theres plenty of exceptions. Gullich was the top climber of that era and he was pretty beefcake.

Is it maybe just a cultural shift that resulted from bouldering becoming more popular as a pursuit? Before the idea was to be light, with strong fingers. Now the idea is to thug around so hard on indoor boulder problems you'll have enough power that dieting wouldnt be necessary?
--- Invalid image id: 108136789 ---

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By Christiney
From Wheat Ridge, CO
May 11, 2013
Horseman
frankstoneline wrote:
that photo also displays that top sport climbers now are more nervous and awkward than they were in the 90's.


LOL they all look uncomfortable in their own skin! Maybe because back in the day climbing was less mainstream as a sport and climbers were of the chill laid back outdoor types, and nowadays the top climbers are very motivated and driven athletes.

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By chuffnugget
From Bolder, CO
May 11, 2013
This thread is making the burger I'm eating even more tastey

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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
May 11, 2013
El Chorro
I'm 6ft, 155. Sharma is bigger and taller than me. Not sure by how much. But I am willing to bet every piece of climbing gear I own that he is not 5-6.

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By Hendrixson
Administrator
From Tucson, AZ
May 11, 2013
Enjoying 'Ground Affects'.
David Sahalie wrote:
climbers are also shrinking: Average height is 5 foot 6 for the top ten climbers in the world Average weight is 124 pounds for the top ten climbers in the world so, the ideal build of gymnastics and climbing are the same.


Do you have a source for this? Thanks.

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By jon weekley
From Denver, Co
May 11, 2013
avocado gully
There are only two weight classes in men's climbing: UNDER 200lbs and OVER 200 lbs. (UNless your only 5'2" and weigh 180, then you can be in the Big-Little Man Class.) If your 5'6" and 130 you're a bean pole. If you're 6' and 165 you're still a bean pole.

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By Jon Zucco
From Denver, CO
May 11, 2013
yaak crack Red Rock Canyon, NV
I don't really agree with your generalization, but if it were true, it could be because the growing popularity of the sport has allowed its participants to live a somewhat normal life while training hard and pushing grades. In other words, pro-climbers don't necessarily have to live like hobos anymore. They can eat somewhat normally and have access to healthcare and a decent wage while climbing full-time. Not to say they were living like hobos back in the day though, as I am only pushing 30 and was not there.

But anyway, most of the good climbers these days still seem to be pretty "skinny"/lean, and still live like hobos. I really don't think that has changed. Long live the dirtbags.

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By chuffnugget
From Bolder, CO
May 11, 2013
Hendrixson wrote:
Do you have a source for this? Thanks.


I was wondering if someone would ask. Not really, it came from here:

redriverclimbing.com/viewtopic...

I have heard these numbers before, so there must be data somewhere legit, but I can't find it.

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By Mike Belu
From Indianapolis, IN
May 11, 2013
Summit of Rainier.
I just watched Masters of Stone 3, which had top climbers in the early/mid 90's. Those guys definitely looked like they were carrying more body fat/bulk then the top climbers today. Today's top climbers looked ripped by comparison. Even Ondra looks like he's put on muscle in the past couple years, but not fat. Still very thin by normal people's body comparison though.

I have "death grip" but haven't read it yet; finishing Seven Summits first.

Do you think the anorexic scene in the book was localized to the area?

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